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Slip into these shoes for some extreme street sporting
Springwise - May 1, 2003
Hip sneakers and extreme sports: a combination made in teenage heaven, especially if that extreme sport is grinding: sliding along curbs, benches, rails, or whatever will support your skates, board or shoes. For the latter, you'd be best off wearing 'grinding shoes': sneakers that come equipped with replaceable plastic plates under the arches to smoothen the ride.
The only established brand in this arena, aptly named SoapShoes, has gone through many tribulations over the last few years, including failed adventures outside the US, but seems ready for survival after being purchased by Heeling Sports Limited in September 2002.
Springwise believes the soap shoe design, together with grinding's aura of danger, risk and fun, should help push sales to teenagers around the world. Even if they have no intention of sliding down a rails or other scary stuff, the cool-factor will win them over. Bit like what SUVs used to be for adults.
With the trend having faded a bit in the US, renewing international soap shoes sales seems to be on Heeling's to-do list (the only non-US distributor appears to be UK-based Shiner at this point), so distributors take note!
Oh, and from a marketing point of view, if you're into anything youth-related, being associated with grinding wouldn't hurt if you need an extreme sports image. Just make sure you sponsor professionals: you probably don't want Jackass-like lawsuits grinding your business to a halt!
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